AW: [sw-l] Group 1 handshape symbol differentiation

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Wed Oct 1 14:11:22 UTC 2008

Hello Natasha, Ingvild ... friends


well in the long run this will not become a difficult decision – smile- You
are lucky that there are already lots and lots of ASL signs written in
SignWriting. I would recomend to just look at the materials written by
competent scribes – und while doing so you will get familiar with “typical”
SW representations of ASL signs you already know. Just for fun you may look
at the US Sign-Puddle – The search for symbol function is a wonderfull
option to look for many signs written with the index finger in either plane.


And I agree with Ingvild that most of us prefer the front view. The two
alternatives you show below are not too often because often the fingers do
not show directly to the left or right – ....

In the long run you will develop the feeling for an easy to read “design” of
a sign. 


I loved to look at the videos you mentioned before


All the best 


Stefan ;-) 




Von: sw-l-bounces at
[mailto:sw-l-bounces at] Im Auftrag von Natasha
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 1. Oktober 2008 14:31
An: SignWriting List
Betreff: RE: [sw-l] Group 1 handshape symbol differentiation


I have been thinking about all this information, and I have refined my
question once again.  I do appreciate everyone's patience.  I understand
that the symbols represent the planes from which the hand is viewed.  How
then does one decide when to switch planes of view to represent a sign one
would like to write?
For example, my original question involved trying to represent a hand, palm
in, pointed to my left, located in front of my body.  Because the hand can
be represented in both the wall and the floor plane (palm or side view or
perspective), how or when does one make the decision to use either one or
the other representation?






One helpful list-member pointed out that you could imagine sticking a pin in
the hand shape and rotating it.  How do I decide which side to stick the pin
in?  Another list-member said I should decide based on the placement or
height of the hand (am I seeing more of wall or floor plane).  And then I
also got advice that the height (placement?) is irrelevant.  


Truly, the hand is a six-sided box, if you choose to think about it that
way, so I am wondering if there is a writing rule that helps us decide from
which of the three parallel planes we are actually viewing or writing it


How do you all go about making these decisions when writing?  Is there a
standard or rule for when to "break" or change planes?


Thanks again!

Natasha Escalada-Westland, M.Ed. (D/HH), Macromedia Cert.
Westland Progeny, <> <> 


> From: signwriting at
> To: sw-l at
> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Group 1 handshape symbol differentiation
> Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 07:53:26 -0700
> And the same is true for the plane parallel to the Floor. We can 
> pretend we are on the ceiling, looking down at hands that are parallel 
> to the Floor Plane. Those hands have the break across them...and they 
> can be high or low or far or near to the body, and if we pretend we 
> are a bird sitting high up, looking down, we see the hand parallel to 
> the matter how high or low the hand itself is...that is why 
> Ingvild called it the "bird's eye view" all these levels of 
> hands, parallel to the Floor Plane have a break in the handshape.
> In the attached diagram all these hands are in the exact same palm 
> facing. They are simply at different heights. They are all parallel to 
> the Floor. And we are viewing them as if we were a bird sitting on the 
> we know it is the Floor Plane, when there is a break in 
> the any height:

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